A filmmaker and sexual health advocate has made a film highlighting the benefits and advantages of PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis).
San Francisco-based Chris Tipton-King is the man behind the PrEP Project.
Its website describes it as, ‘a grassroots, crowdfunded documentary web series … designed to be sex ed for the 21st century, taking the fear out of the HIV epidemic with fun and outrageous frankness.
‘We explain what PrEP is and how to get it, popular myths, testing, STIs, undetectable status, HIV+ stigma, and do it all with a sex-positive, judgment-free attitude.
You can watch it below. Be warned: it’s probably too graphic to watch at work.
‘I thought that we needed something bolder, something sexier’
The web series is not affiliated with Gilead, the maker of Truvada: the pharmaceutical drug that constitutes PrEP.
In fact, Tipton-King tells the Huffington Post that he made the series as a reaction to official Gilead adverts. He describes as ‘vanilla, stock-photo-and-fine-print yawners that you might expect from a pharmaceutical company.’
‘For a prevention strategy meant for men who enjoy dicks in butts au-natural, most outreach efforts have been about as sexy as burnt toast,’ says Tipton-King.
‘As a gay filmmaker, I’ve been watching from the sidelines as a parade of ham-fisted attempts have tried to move the needle. Frustratingly, less than a quarter of the men who meet the CDC risk criteria are on PrEP, despite four years of public availability.
‘I thought that we needed something bolder, something sexier, and something that reflected the realities of gay sex.’
The films were initially four separate episodes. They have now been edited together into an 18-minute documentary.
PrEP around the world
Truvada has been available in the US since 2012. It’s use is slowly being approved around the world. On 5 July, the European Parliament passed a resolution urging countries in Europe to make access to PrEP easier for those in high-risk groups.
In the UK, gay men obtaining PrEP on the black market has been credited with driving down HIV infection rates. NHS England is currently running a trial, to be extended to 10,000 people, to judge the cost-efficiency of prescribing PrEP.